Three weeks into the conflict between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, reported that people in Gaza broke into aid warehouses to take flour and basic hygiene products. “People are scared, frustrated and desperate,” said Thomas White of UNRWA.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced an expansion of ground operations and airstrikes. The Israeli military reported striking over 450 militant targets, including Hamas command centers. Communications in Gaza were largely cut off but have been partially restored.
Residents near Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, reported Israeli airstrikes hitting close to the complex. Israel accuses Hamas of having a command post beneath the hospital. Mahmoud al-Sawah, sheltering in the hospital, said, “Reaching the hospital has become increasingly difficult.”
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza has risen to over 7,700, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Israel reports that more than 1,400 people were killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion, including at least 230 hostages taken into Gaza. Hospitals are struggling to operate emergency generators, and Gaza’s sole power plant has shut down.